Hen and Chickens, Birmingham

The best thing about food blogger friends is the excellent excuse to go out and order a truly excessive amount of food. Laura, Fay, Emma and I took ourselves for an enormous dinner at Hen and Chickens in the Jewellery Quarter, all in the name of foodie research, of course.

Hen and Chickens

The Desi pub has had a recent makeover, expanding their dining space. The new interior is cosy and inviting, with pretty stained glass, exposed brick and plenty of tables. It was already packed when we arrived, but the friendly barman helped us find a table and we settled to gaze adoringly at the menu.

Gin and Tonic

A round of Gin and Tonics kept us company as we decided, and we were all delighted by the classy glassware. I wish this glass would have fitted in my handbag…

Poppadomms

We began with a pile of Poppodomms (£1.50 each), accompanied by a cool mint yogurt, a tangy marinade of chopped onions, and a rich, spicy chutney. The poppadomms were huge, and not at all greasy. We had a bit of a wait before the rest of our order arrived, but boy was it worth it. Being four hungry bloggers, we ordered a lot and our table was groaning with food.

Desi food

Fay doesn’t eat meat, so we focussed on the meat free options and opted to order lots of dishes to share tapas style, an approach I’d recommend. Portions are ideal sharing size, and it works out as lots of food for a good price.

Paneer and Samosas

The Lamb Dhansak (£8.50) was full of tender chunks of slow cooked lamb, studded with pineapple, and was perfect for dunking pieces of Garlic Nan (£1.80). The Chicken Rogan Josh (£7.25) had gently spice and had also clearly been cooked slowly, as the chicken was melt in the mouth, soaked in the thick sauce. The Fish Curry (£7) was the least interesting, with a tasty sauce, but the fish was fairly bland and none of us could identify what kind of fish it actually was. The texture was slightly odd and all fish flavour was hidden by the sauce.

The Paneer dishes were major stand-outs. Saag Paneer (£6) was full of the cheese, and was a beautiful creamy dish, packed full of spinach. Paneer Tikka (£7.50) is a drier dish, but the paneer had a light crispy edge to it and was well spiced in the tikka mix. Absolutely delicious. We all loved the thick smokiness of the Tharka Dhal (£4.50) too.

The Samosas (£2 each) had a tasty spicy filling, but the pastry was a little greasy, which was a shame.

Despite a few small niggles, we all went home extremely full and very, very happy. How full, you ask? Well…

I’ll be back to feast on more paneer very soon, I’m sure. It was so good, and the staff were super friendly too. Go, order half the menu and you’ll be very happy.

We paid in full. All prices correct at the time of writing. We didn’t tell them we were bloggers but they probably guessed when we all stood up and started taking pictures of the very full table. All words, images and opinions are my own. 

Christmas at the Botanical Gardens with Brum Bloggers

Brum Bloggers had a very Christmassy meet up a little while ago, at the gorgeous Botanical Gardens in Edgbaston.

You may remember I did the Magical Lantern trail last year, but this year, the gardens are decked out in all their Christmas finery, with a trail of incredible Christmas lights. I dug the Christmas jumper out of the back of the cupboard, grabbed a mulled wine and set off to explore.

Botanical Gardens

Christmas at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Christmas lights

Christmas

There’s a couple of huts at the start of the trail, where can you buy hot dogs, a selection of festive snacks, soft drinks, rum cocktails (pre-mixed) or a steaming cup of mulled wine. There’s a few food stops along the way, including a hog roast that was sadly closed when I visited, and fancy marshmallows that you can toast yourself in a fire pit. Halfway around, there’s also a very special visitor dressed in red, all the way from the North Pole…

Rudolph

The best part is the sweeping carpet of lights across the middle of the gardens. As you reach the end of the trail, find a spot near a speaker, as the rippling light display is set to music, and is really quite special. Excuse terrible portrait video, I was shooting for Instagram stories…

To our delight, we also found a beautiful carousel, complete with grand horses and giant…chickens. No, really. Myself and Fay, of Hey It’s Fay, couldn’t resist. Did you ever see anyone look as happy as Fay as does in this?

The lights trail is on until 30 December. Tickets are £14 for an adult, £8 for children and under 4s go free. You can also grab a family ticket for £40. Tickets can be booked here.

My entry to the trail was free, as part of the Brum Bloggers Christmas meet up. I was not obliged to write a post. 

 

Brunch at Saint Kitchen, Birmingham

A random day off work should be celebrated, preferably with food. Lucky for me, Hey It’s Fay and Bite Your Brum are ladies who lunch working from home people, so generally up for a middle of the day foody trip.

We took ourselves for brunch and a gossip at Saint Kitchen in the Jewellery Quarter. I’ma  big fan of Saint Kitchen. Their staff are always friendly, and the cafe is a cosy place for a coffee, breakfast or a spot of lunch.

Latte

I ordered a large latte (£2.90) and was delighted to receive an actual large cup, not the small glass thimbles some trendy coffee spots have taken to providing. Saint Kitchen pride themselves on serving excellent coffee, and this was no disappointment. Strong, with creamy milk and a good amount of froth. Spot on.

Saint Kitchen Breakfast

I will eat anything with a smashed avocado on it, so went for Huevos Rancheros (£8.50), which is beef brisket chili, grated cheese, avocado and two fried eggs, piled onto a slice of sourdough bread. The bread is toasted lightly, giving it pleasing crunch and enough structural integrity to support the toppings. The eggs are perfectly oozy, just how I like, and the brisket is tender and smokey.

We had an excellent morning cluttering up Saint Kitchen’s tables forever while we set the world to rights, and I’ll never turn down a delicious breakfast!

I paid in full, and didn’t tell anyone I was a blogger. All words, pictures and opinions are my own.